What Kettlebell Weight should a Woman use?
Kettlebell training is a great workout choice for people of all ages and fitness levels. However, the amount of weight you should use is highly variable depending on a myriad of factors. One of the biggest determinants of what weight you should choose is gender.
Because women have less muscle mass than men, they have different requirements for their kettlebell weight range. That doesn’t mean that kettlebell training isn’t just as effective for women as it is for men. What kettlebell weight should a woman use depends on the type of training and the fitness level of the individual.
Kettlebells are highly effective weights that can fit into almost any workout routine. They can be used for strength training, cardio, and flexibility all with just one compact piece of equipment. Additionally, they are highly accessible to people of all ages and ability levels.
The reason kettlebells are so effective is because the weight of them is off center. This forces you to use your stabilizer muscles as you work out. Kettlebells also help you to target a wide range of specific muscles through a greater range of motion.
Related: Best Exercises for Women
Whether you’re just starting or you’re looking to amp up your current workouts, kettlebells can work for you. They are extremely popular because the high intensity workouts give you a lot of exertion in a short amount of time. They are perfect for building strength and for fat loss.
Kettlebells also tend to be better for your joints, which is another reason they have gained a lot of popularity. Women, as well as men, like them because they are so amenable to any fitness goal. Once you learn the proper way to use a kettlebell, you can start working every muscle with just one compact device.
Many women fall into the trap of focusing on aerobic exercises and not training your muscles. Women actually benefit from strength training just as much as men. Kettlebells are a great way to condition and tone your body without “beefing up” too much muscle mass.
Why purchase standard kettlebell when you can have it all in one! Check out our review on the best adjustable kettlebell on the market.
Benefits of Kettlebell Training
Related: Why you should start kettlebell training
What weight kettlebell should a woman start with? Women who are complete kettlebell newbies should be looking to start around 18lbs. Almost every woman should be able to start at this weight. It might seem like it will be too heavy, but you will be pleasantly surprised by what you are capable of.
Because kettlebell training is so different from other forms of weight training, you can start a little heavier than you would for some other types of exercises. In fact, going too light can be just as detrimental to your training as starting too heavy. With kettlebells, you need enough weight to engage your whole body.
If you try to start with a weight that is too light, you can accidentally isolate your muscles and throw off your entire form. While 18lbs might be too challenging for a beginner in other forms of lifting, with kettlebells you will be learning to use both your upper and lower body at the same time. If you start with a weight that is too light you will find it harder to progress in your training since you aren’t learning proper form.
With that said, starting too heavy can also be damaging to your form and increase the risk of injury. It is best to not try to overdo it or start too easy. Therefore, 18lbs is the sweet spot kettlebell weight for most female novices.
A woman who is older, or out of shape, may want to start with a slightly lower kettlebell weight. Elderly women can get a lot of benefit out of incorporating kettlebells into their exercise routine, but you want to start slow.
If you fit into one of these categories, you can go down to a 15lb or possibly even a 12lb kettlebell. However, once you have learned to handle a kettlebell correctly, you will find yourself moving up quickly. Conversely, a woman who has a strong background in other types of weight training could try starting as high as 25lbs.
There are two different types of kettlebell exercises. The first is ballistics, which utilize the whole body and are done with very quick, explosive motions. The other type is grinds, which tend to isolate certain muscle groups and are done slower to create more tension.
The rule of thumb is to pick heavier weights for ballistics, since they are using a larger number of muscles. An average or active woman should use between 18-26lbs, while a woman in excellent shape should use around 35lbs. Ballistic exercises include swings, cleans, and snatches.
Grinds include exercises such as Turkish get ups and presses. These exercises have many moving parts and isolate specific muscles. It is more dangerous to pick a weight that is too heavy for these types of workouts.
Average or active women should stick with 13-18lbs for grinds. Very athletic women would want to be in the range of 18-26lbs.
Women who are beginning weight training may have different goals than men. For example, weight loss may be a priority for some, but others may be looking for toning or strengthening. No matter what the goal, kettlebells can be an effective tool to help you get there.
When starting with kettlebells, it is best to set tangible and achievable goals. Setting a goal kettlebell weight is a great way to do this! For example, if you are starting swings at 18lbs you might want to set your goal at 35lbs.
You will find that you are ready to move on from your 18lbs pretty quickly. A good guideline for when you know you’re ready to move up is when a set of 20 kettlebell swings has become easy and you feel completely confident.
Similarly, a good test for when you’re ready to move up with grinds is when multiple Turkish get ups become easy and fluid.
The kettlebell is a highly versatile training device that fits in with any fitness routine. Women can benefit just as much as men from training with kettlebells. Because form is so important in kettlebell training, make sure you are careful not to pick weights that are too light or too heavy.
The weight a woman should start with in kettlebell training is approximately 18lbs. However, this can adjust depending on your age, fitness level, and type of workout. Remember to go lighter with grinds and heavier with ballistics. Overall, focus on technique and you should begin to see the results you want in no time.
Check out our comprehensive workout guides and begin your kettlebell training: